Want healthy eating tips for the real world? In today’s ‘What I eat in a day’ episode, Healthista quizzes Hannah Barrett aka @yoga_girl_london on her daily food hacks
Hannah Barrett, or Yoga Girl London as she is known in the Instagram world, is a mother of two, whose aim is to share the incredible benefits of yoga with as many people as she can – and in the cutest way possible too as many of her videos involve her gorgeous children and very cute pooch.
After a stressful job in the finance industry four years ago, and the traumatic birth of her daughter that caused her to experience post-natal depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, Hannah turned to yoga and found that it made a significantly positive impact on her life.
Fast forward a few years and Hannah has released her first eBook Strength Through Yoga with Finola Burrell, a physiotherapist and Pilates teacher.
It’s hard not to notice Hannah’s toned physique on her Instagram feed and that made us wonder about her daily diet.
From Hannah’s go-to snack to her favourite cheat meal, we discovered all her daily eating habits. Follow Hannah @yoga_girl_london
Here’s what a typical day of food looks like for Hannah:
7:30am, Breakfast: Buckwheat pancakes
12pm Lunch: Poached eggs with boiled sweet potato
3pm, Mid-afternoon snack: An apple or pear
7pm, Dinner: Veggie stir fry with cashew nuts
8:30pm, After dinner snack: some dark chocolate
‘Quick, easy and unprocessed’
‘Everything I eat is quick and easy to make,’ says Hannah. ‘Food and cooking doesn’t need to be complicated to be tasty.
It can be simple and healthy to prepare wholesome meals with fresh produce
‘But that doesn’t mean I open tins, jars or packets to prepare my food, as most of the food I eat is as unprocessed as possible,’ says Hannah.
‘Making and cooking meals yourself, doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen. It can be simple and healthy to prepare wholesome meals with fresh produce and there are plenty of easy recipes in cookbooks and online that I use for inspiration.
‘Eggs for lunch are a must’
‘Lunchtime in my house is when my daughter gets back from nursery and when I’m back from teaching my morning yoga classes (12pm), so we are both starving. It’s just me and her to make lunch for, as my son is at school.
‘I have always loved eggs and my daughter loves them too. At the moment we are going through a poached egg stage, but we also love to have scrambled eggs.
‘I am thrilled that my daughter loves eggs, it’s great for me as it’s a healthy easy meal that I can rustle up in minutes. Eggs are a great source of vitamins and minerals and as they are high in protein, they help with my muscle recovery and do a great job of filling us up.
‘I pay attention to where I source my eggs from and always look for the Lion mark so that I know I’m buying quality British eggs.’
A typical lunch for Hannah and her daughter: British Lion Eggs poached, boiled sweet potato with salad or vegetables.
- Peel sweet potato and chop into chunks.
- Add the sweet potato to a pan of boiling water and boil until soft.
- While the sweet potato is boiling, fill a shallow pan with water and bring to a simmer.
- Crack to British Lion Eggs into the shallow pan and poach.
- Serve the poached eggs and boiled sweet potato with either salad or boiled veggies of your choice.
‘Restriction is a no-no’
Even though Hannah likes to prepare and eat fresh, unprocessed meals, she doesn’t believe in restriction. ‘One of my most important food principles is to not restrict yourself,’ Hannah asserts.
‘In my younger years I would try so many crazy diets and all of them would involve some sort of restriction that would only cause me to end up resenting the diet altogether.
‘But what I have found truly works is being a bit more mindful about what you eat rather than cutting things out altogether. If you want chocolate, have some chocolate, just don’t eat a whole family-sized bar.
‘I am someone who eats what I fancy then and there. At the moment I simply adore dim sum and I get it delivered every weekend, sometimes on a Wednesday too. If I could have it every day, I would. I also love a sushi take away – see what I mean by no restriction? If I fancy it, I’ll have it.
‘I also don’t want to be the mum who doesn’t let her children have chocolate or treats – except for sweets because that causes them to go mental. I don’t want them to grow up thinking and seeing food as an issue’.
‘Try not to skip breakfast, even if you aren’t hungry’
Although Hannah believes in intuitive eating (that’s eating when you’re hungry), she doesn’t think skipping breakfast is a good idea.
‘I usually eat breakfast at the same time every day, around 7:30am, and I would never skip breakfast. Even if I’m not hungry, I will always make sure I have a little something to eat rather than nothing.
‘I find that eating breakfast, especially a protein fuelled breakfast that contains eggs, keeps my energy levels up for when I am teaching yoga (around seven to ten classes a week) and stops me from eating too much later on in the day. Having breakfast also stops me from mindlessly snacking or thinking about snacking.
I find that eating breakfast, especially a protein fuelled breakfast that contains eggs, keeps my energy levels up for when I am teaching yoga
‘I like to eat intuitively, so if I’m not hungry I won’t eat just because the time of day suggests I should. Although, saying that, I do tend to also have lunch at the same time every day, around 2pm.
‘My favourite breakfast is buckwheat pancakes’
‘Buckwheat pancakes aren’t only my favourite breakfast because they taste delicious, I also love them because I make them in bulk. And when I say bulk, I literally have four frying pans, one on each hob, on the go at once.
‘I make a whole batch and then place some baking paper in between each one so they don’t stick, slide them into a big bag and pop them into the freezer.
‘All I have to do then is grab a few out of the freezer and heat them up, which takes seconds, and voila, breakfast is served quick, easy and delicious.
‘The kids love them too, which makes things even easier because we can all eat the same thing. Plus, the kids see these pancakes as a real sweet treat. Especially when we add nut butter, we can’t get enough.
‘I love the buckwheat flour which has a far nuttier taste that I prefer,’ adds Hannah.
‘These pancakes on the weekend are a must, because the cooking becomes like a team task. If it’s not pancakes, we will do some baking – we love brownies’.
To make Hannah’s buckwheat pancakes:
- 200 grams of Buckwheat flour into a bowl with a teaspoon of baking powder.
- Then add one British Lion egg
- Then add around 250ml of cashew milk, add the milk until you reach a consistency you prefer.
- Whisk all the ingredients together, add more milk if you need to.
- Put some oil into a pan and wait till hot.
- Then put a ladle full into the pan and wait till golden brown on both sides.
- Serve with nut butter with blueberries.
‘If in doubt make a green smoothie’
‘If I am ever feeling hungry but don’t want to eat a big meal, I’ll have a green smoothie. In fact, it’s my go-to snack. I would say it’s more of a green veggie smoothie though, as I find fruit smoothies too sweet for me.
‘I add mainly cucumber and other green veggies such as kale, spinach and celery and then just to sweeten ever so slightly, I will blend it all up with an apple. It makes the perfect tummy filling snack that is also full to the brim in nutrients.
‘I used to snack on fruit quite a lot, but I stopped for a long time because I got really scared of consuming too much sugar after articles and books I’d read started to demonise it.
‘But again, it goes back to not restricting yourself. If I want a piece of fruit, I’ll have some and they are full of nutrients. Apples are great so long as I don’t sit there and eat a whole pack of them. Everything in moderation’.
‘Keep essentials fully stocked’
‘There’s nothing worse than running out of essentials. A few things you will always find in my cupboard are: nut butter, dark chocolate, crisps for the kids, chilli flakes and pasta because it’s a staple food in my household.
‘You’ll also never peer into my fridge without finding eggs, loads of veggies, sweet chilli sauce, cashew milk and mayonnaise because like I said, I can’t get enough of the stuff’.
‘I have a very sweet tooth, so I have dark chocolate pretty much every day after dinner and it’s important for me to always have some chocolate in the cupboard. Remember what I said about restriction? If I want some chocolate, I will have it’.
‘Pay attention to how your body feels after food’
‘Eating healthy food makes me feel great. Once you tune into how your body feels when you eat something, it all becomes far simpler.
‘When I eat too many crisps for example (which does happen), I realise that I don’t feel as good. So even though I enjoy crisps, I will only have them sometimes and not every day.
‘Another example is that gluten tends to bloat me. That’s why I use buckwheat flour for my pancakes, as they leave me feeling bloat free.
I have always had an issue with dairy and it’s the only thing I restrict completely
Even though Hannah avoids gluten where possible to stop bloating, she doesn’t avoid it completely. ‘I do eat gluten when I am out and about, it’s hard to avoid it completely, but I don’t eat too much, and try to limit or swap where I can,’ explains Hannah.
‘I use cashew milk or other dairy-free options because like gluten, dairy tends to trigger my IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and also causes bloating. Even if I have just a tiny bit of dairy my IBS is triggered.
‘I have always had an issue with dairy and it’s the only thing I restrict completely. I’m not the biggest fan of dairy so not eating it doesn’t bother me.
‘My advice? Listen to your body and see how you feel after eating certain foods, you’ll feel so much better’.